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Davis School District

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Davis School DistrictEliminate Phone Calls with Tyler's VersaTrans e-Link

VersaTrans e-Link – Easy, efficient on-line access to student transportation data for Davis School District

On a typical August day, Steve Welch, Route Coordinator for the Davis School District, can expect to be pulled away from his work planning bus routes to field more than 200 calls from students, parents, and school secretaries with questions about transportation for the coming year.

That was before VersaTrans e-Link.

VersaTrans e-Link, VersaTrans Solutions, Inc.’s simple-to-use web browser, enables parents, students, and school officials to directly access detailed transportation data via the Internet or intranet. VersaTrans e-Link makes important transportation information easily accessible to the people who need it most when they need it most. At the same time, it frees up school transportation planners like Steve Welch to concentrate on designing bus routes and transportation plans.

“Every August and September we spend hours and hours on the phone answering questions like ‘Do I ride the bus or walk? Where’s my bus? What time do I pick it up?’” said Welch. “I’d come back from lunch and have 34 voice mails-all questions about transportation for the coming school year.”

Davis School District had been using VersaTrans’ powerful transportation software, Routing & Planning, for a year when the company introduced VersaTrans e-Link. Routing & Planning proved to be an incredible tool for designing bus routes for the district’s 16,652 students at 77 schools across 235 square miles, yet heavy call volumes continued to be a big problem for planners.

“We knew we were having a problem with phone calls a year before we started using Routing and Planning,” said Welch. “The need became so severe that when VersaTrans e-Link came along we jumped at the chance to try it.”

VersaTrans e-Link, a web server application, allows multiple users to retrieve transportation and route information without any special software, and delivers the data in an easy-to-understand web page format. VersaTrans e-Link is designed to reduce calls to transportation departments, provide accurate and timely information, serve as an excellent registration and data entry tool, and reduce data redundancy.

Parents and students who, prior to VersaTrans e-Link, were forced to make several phone calls to learn their transportation details, can now determine all they need to know by accessing a single on-line location.

“We’ve got odd boundaries out here that determine whether a student goes to high school A instead of high school B,” said Welch. “Parents would have to call Planning to find out which school district they’re in, then call the school to find out whether their child walks or rides the bus, and then call the Transportation Department for the bus number, pick-up location and pick-up time. They would make anywhere from two to four phone calls. VersaTrans e-Link puts it all in one place for them.”

According to Stacy Paskett, Data Specialist at Davis schools, the school secretaries, in particular, have realized VersaTrans e-Link’s full potential. “They love this - they think it’s the best thing ever,” said Paskett, explaining that access to the Routing & Planning reports is password protected for security reasons, making VersaTrans e-Link the only way for most secretaries to directly access transportation data. For them, VersaTrans e-Link also acts as an excellent registration tool; streamlining the entry of new students into the transportation system, reducing inaccuracies, and assisting in classroom planning.

“In order for us to have a kindergarten bus we need at least 10 eligible students,” said Paskett. “A secretary can go into VersaTrans e-Link and determine whether a student is eligible to ride the bus, and then put ten kids in the same kindergarten session, morning or afternoon. This helps us out a lot with our planning.”

Since the need to identify school districts and bus routes is not limited to school officials, students and their families - real estate agents and relocating families, among others, have a need to know - VersaTrans e-Link is directly linked to several Davis County municipal web sites, and planners at Davis schools are working to find ways to continue to provide wider public access to VersaTrans e-Link.

The 2002/2003 school year will put VersaTrans e-Link to its greatest test yet. The addition of one elementary school has forced a redistricting of Davis School District’s 13 existing elementary schools, and Welch expects an unusually high number of questions relating to transportation. He’s relying on VersaTrans e-Link to field most of those questions.

“Our biggest load so far will come this year,” said Welch. “There will be lots of questions about the new scenario, and I expect to have a lot of people logging in. I don’t know what we’d do without VersaTrans e-Link. All I can say is if they try to take it away, they’ve got a fight on their hands.”

 

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